Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Keep Trying

Well, it's working. I am down another 2 pounds, with 8 more regained pounds to go. As much as I don't want to be losing the same pounds over and over, it's better than the alternative. And unless I want to go back to being morbidly obese - and stay there - I have to do this.

That's the thing about weight loss. Oh I am sure for some people it's a pretty straight shot. They have some kind of "aha" moment, jump on board and lose weight every week until they reach skinnihood. But not for me. Not for most people, I suspect. It's more of a slow, up-and-down journey. There's a lot of re-losing going on. And that is probably also why so many people regain all their weight (and then some)... because they WANT the weight to be gone yesterday. No one really WANTS to take a year, or two or three years, to lose a massive amount of weight, but hey, you really have to decide if you can handle being obese for the rest of your life or not. If you don't really mind, so be it. I have nothing against people who decide that they would rather stay fat than work at losing weight. And for many years I was in that middle category of people who really want to lose weight but can't quite figure it out. Now I think I figured it out, at least partly, and I just have to keep at it. Chip away at the pounds, the resistance, the emotional issues. It takes time. But I just don't want to stay fat anymore, so I keep trying to TRY. No matter what you are doing, you gotta keep at it. Don't let a small gain of weight turn into months of NOT TRYING. As long as you keep trying, you can get back on track eventually and reverse the damage.

Last week when I was posting about food addictions, I got some comments about AA and OA and various 12-step programs. I have been wondering about how alcoholics get through it when they want to stop drinking but crave a drink. I thought, hey. Maybe someone who is a recovering alcoholic can give me the key to getting through this! Maybe when I really want junk food or Coke or whatever, I can do what THEY do to get through their cravings. So I went and found a Chat Support Group for recovering alcoholics who are members of AA. (For the record, I don't have any kind of drinking problem, unless you count sucking back 3 chocolate milkshakes in one day). Anyway, so I asked this guy, "What do you do when you are trying to stop drinking but you really really really want a drink?" I didn't give any background on me... I just popped in and asked this as if I am a recovering alcoholic. His answer: "I go and buy a six-pack of Mountain Dew and about 4 Milky Way bars, and I drink the soda and eat a candy bar every couple of hours. That really works for me to stave off the alcohol cravings."

Well... okay. I don't think that is going to work for me. He said something about keeping his blood sugar levels up in order to reduce cravings, though. Which is interesting. Maybe I can modify this advice to eating something healthy every couple of hours. I will have to think about it. But it was kind of funny he should tell me to drink soda and eat candy bars...

I responded with, "but what if that makes me gain weight?" And he said, "If you are worried about getting fat more than being a drunk then just go and have the drink." Huh. Interesting. There is something profound in that.

Yesterday was a really good day for me. I did not struggle. I didn't have cravings. I don't know WHY. Maybe the cravings were hormonal, or maybe I just got sick of eating junk. But I will take it. I did avoid most of the stuff on my Trigger Foods list. I had my usual waffle-PB&J-fruit breakfast. My snacks were watermelon, peaches, grapes, almonds, and string cheese. I drank lots of iced green tea. Lunch was some pre-packaged Indian food (lentils and kidney beans in a tomato sauce) over cubed, steamed zucchini instead of rice. For dinner I made some fantastic squash burgers. (Yeah, I know, but I love squash). I had a ton of yellow crookneck squash that I needed to use up, so I boiled it with onions and garlic in a bit of water til very soft. I drained excess water. I added salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and thyme. I mashed it up. Added a bit of Egg Beater and some Panko. Formed into patties, rolled in more Panko (I LOVE Panko!!) and "fried" them in a small amount of olive oil until they were crispy and golden on both sides. They were so good and crunchy! I will make them again.

I feel so ready to get back to losing. I want to take new progress pictures at 208 pounds. I am ready to be in new (smaller sizes). I want to be strong.

So let's keep going, keep trying, and see where this road takes us.


maryd said...

Wow about the response on the AA board. The book I mentioned talks very much about how alcoholics usually replace their alcohol addiction with sugar, since it has some same physiological responses. I've never heard such a straightforward example like that though!

You are right--it is an ongoing journey for sure. Take care.

spunkysuzi said...

I'm so glad to hear that your cravings were better today!
And i have to admit i found one site where the person stated that once they started to lose weight they never had a gain, ever! Well i must admit i just could not believe that! Sorry maybe they never did but i've never in my life, and believe me i've lived quite a few years, met anyone who hasn't had a gain of some sort!!

ryry the adventurous said...

Yanno... I thought the same thing about weight loss probably being a "straight shot" for some people. Maybe 5% or less of people who lose weight, I'd bet. For a body to drop weight, it is hardly ever a straight shot. Honestly, unless you have a personal chef, dietician, personal trainer and personal assistant to schedule every minute and calorie of the day, assured weight loss is never a reality. For me, I go up and down 3+ pounds every week, and only post weight every two weeks after my body settles into a pattern of some sort.

Lyn, you've lost SIXTY POUNDS! You are STILL doing awesome, even though you fell off the wagon a little bit. You still had a foot in the wagon, and you hoisted yourself back up in no time.

That really is interesting about the sugar counteracting the addictive effects of drugs and alcohol... that's pretty much a confirmation that sugar is just plain awful. I knew someone who, to combat alcoholism recovery, ate an entire box of chocolate covered donuts every night. The point is to get yourself away from needing that high. While sugar is better than alcohol or drugs, it's really not all that much better for you in the long run.

In all honesty, the best thing to do is go off sugar altogether. In reality, that is rediculously easier said than done. I wish I had a surefire way to do it other than detox, detox, detox... hopefully other readers can give some better insight!

elife said...

I read this book called "The Diet Cure" which was al about amino acids to combat alcohol and sugar cravings. The research had all been done on recovering alcoholics who went right into sugar addictions/weight gain. The "cure" was balancing out their brains' missing amino acid needs. In some cases the person could eventually stop taking the amino acids if their nutrition intake was excellent, giving them what they needed. Others still would need to take the amino acids.

Anyway, the book is worth a read.

I'm so happy for you for getting back on track!!

thinner.me said...

We seem to be on the same road. I am re-losing a small gain myself but am so ready to continue on with the fight

Last week I struggled with pms...not fair...so I gave in to the sugar cravings. This week I feel in control

As a seasoned dieter I have had my days where it feels like a straight shot. But then life happens and the "fork" in the road will cause me to go astray. But, like you say, we must keep trying!

Linda said...

My niece went into drug and alcohol recovery again last week. I was with her during one lunch, and I watched her eat half a quesadilla, all of her cantaloupe, all of her ice cream, and all of her chocolate cake. Helloooo, sugar!

You KNOW that is not the answer for us. There has to be something that can take the place. Biggest Loser swears by sugar free jello and SF/FF pudding. I like both. Others swear by using ricotta to make "pudding". I could never find ricotta that was creamy smooth enough to make me happy.

I'm sort of rambling here, but I remember my South Beach Diet days and being able to eat bread by dipping it in olive oil with balsamic vinegar and a little parmesan cheese. I could stop easily instead of bingeing if I did this once in a while. Something about the fat and acid of the combo...can't remember the science, but it worked for me and seemed decadent.

I love reading your insights because you provide affirmation to my own feelings.

Bravo on regaining some control!


Ceres said...

Yay for Lyn, you're the best!

I really think that anyone who says they lost a considerable amount of weight without serious struggle are either lying or they are depressed [my best friend lost 10 pounds like that before deciding to get counseling]. For the rest of us, it's trying, trying, trying...

What the AA told you is really interesting, I had no idea that they give up drinking by eating more sugar. Perhaps you should try eating a piece of fruit (cold watermelon comes to mind) whenever you want a coke. I wonder if losing weight has been relatively painless for me ("relatively" being the operative word here, I just mean I don't have the awful cravings I used to have, not that it hasn't been hard) because I have been eating so much fruit, especially between lunch and dinner, when I was most prone to overeating before.

You're a champion, good job on getting back on track!

Dawn said...

Lyn, you are amazing. Kudos to you for saying no to hubby's DQ run as well. I'm so proud of you.

This is a lifetime/lifestyle change and I know you know that. Ups and downs are bound to happen, but its how you handle them that counts.

I just want to say I think you are handling your recent issues VERY well.

((((((BIG HUG TO YOU))))))

dmfuton555 (on sparkpeople)

Anonymous said...

okay...i have a feeling that including more protein and fiber in your meals is helping you to control your hunger and your cravings. the last time u mentioned having a craving for coke i made a note of your food that day and all i can say is a fruit smoothie although nutritious, ain't gonna last long in your tummy....i like how you included the cheese in your snack and the lentils in your lunch yesterday.....

Twix said...

Keep on keeping on!

My husband hasn't drank in 20 years. He turned to candy and soda too. It's interesting! But he's so skinny. Lol! I wouldn't be...hey I'm not. No wonder how I got here, modeling his diet. Hah!

Keep on keeping on!

Anonymous said...

The sugar/alcohol cravings has to do with how your liver process certain carbohydrates. The level of satisfaction with alcohol and simple sugars is comparable when it comes to the physiological responses. Interesting stuff..

Not to get on my soapbox here but it's true that many addicts will remove one addiction and replace it with another. That is why it's imperative that addicts get psychological counseling. Can going it alone or cold turkey work? For some, it can. But with others it's important to get to the root of the addiction.

Good luck, Lyn. Congrats on a good eating day!

Sunny said...

After a little gain this week - - I really needed to hear this. You are right, it's not a straight shot to the finish line. There are lots of ups and downs along the way. I hate re-losing weight and yes I do want it all to be gone yesterday!

But I don't want to stay where I'm at either, so I'll continue trying.

What the AA guy said makes sense. I've heard that in kicking one addiction (even food) other addictions are often substituted. Really makes you think about the emotional weaknesses of any addiction.

Thanks for your post today - it puts things back into perspective.

Anonymous said...

The whole thing about sugar is very interesting. You mentioned being advised to eat regularly - I really recommend that. I have to work on it, but it definitely helps. A read an article by a well-regarded (in Britain) dietician the other day where he said you should eat every 2.5 to 3 hrs to keep blood sugar levels up. I know that if I go more than 5 hours without food, I get light-headed and become so desparate for food that I just want to cram it in, as if I'm a famine victim who has just stumbled over a secret stash of their favourite food and I want to eat it before my fellow famine victims discover it.

Katschi said...

The thing is, Lyn, is that we're not giving up despite having setbacks. This is in itself a victory and will take us to our ideal weights.
I would've given up completely binges ago.
I'd love for it to be a straight shot, too, but it ain't gonna happen that way ;)
Three cheers for sticking it out!

Dinah Soar said...

Lyn--are you getting enough fat at each meal? Eating low fat or no fat may save calories but in the long run you may be eating more because of cravings.

Also--check into the psychological aspect of this...I'm finally realizing the importance of it...I don't have a problem thinking I have disordered eating, but reject the notion I have an eating disorder...but maybe I do...alcoholics deny they are addicted to alcohol, so I'm wondering if I've been in denial for years when it comes to food. I'm inclined to think that most of us who struggle with diet/weight loss do. We prefer to think we just need to buck up and be tough...but it may be we need to address the head stuff for real and lasting change. Sometimes willpower just isn't enough...it may go a long way, but can it, will it go all the way?

Some think it can...but I beg to ask them--how long have you maintained your weight loss? If it's less than 8-10 years I'm not too inclined to listen to them.

LCinSunnySoCal.wordpress.com said...

I LOVE this analogy: If you were driving your car, and got a flat tire, you wouldn't just abandon your car by the side of the road. No, you'd go to the tire shop, and have the tire changed, and then continue on your journey. You're in the process of changing that flat tire (I did NOT SAY "spare" tire!..) and you'll be back on the road in no time!

Happy journeys!

Heather said...

congrats on losing those 2 pounds! and congrats on having a craving free day. and so very true about people wanting the weight to be gone NOW, when the reality is, it can take a while to get there and it sucks sometimes, but it will happen if you are patient enough.

Lauren said...

I'm kind of surprised at the response you got on the AA board. I am a member of the program, OA, and probably should be a member of AA also. And when the cravings really hit, we have tools that we use. 8 to be exact, 1. Plan of eating,,2 sponsor, 3, writing, 4 telephone, 5 service 6. literature, 7 meeting, 8 Anonymity. I figure even someone outside of program can use these. Plan what you will eat for the day, talk to someone close to you about what's going on, write about it, call someone who understands, do something for someone else, read something, anything that can help, meet up with some friends who struggle with you, and as for anonymity, I figure the blog works pretty well for that. Hope that helps.

Joy's Journey in Weightloss said...

I completely feel your pain! I spent YEARS trying and trying. I would be down 10 and up 12, down 70
and up 120lbs. Until I detoxed from sugar, I was unable to manage my emotions. If I could not manage my emotional eating, I had no hope of using food to calm me. Basically, I used sugar and junk food (that is also PACKED) to help me deal. Now that I am off of sugar, my mind is clearer and the most important thing-I now have hope that I can do this. I am NOT white knuckling it at all. Once sugar is gone, you can choose a better way to eat for yourself.

new*me said...

keep trying...love the advice. So simple, maybe not the magic pill we all want, but it just makes sense :) Way to go Lyn ;) We love ya!

Anonymous said...

Alcoholics are addicted to "liquid sugar" in the form of alcohol. Overeaters are addicted to sugar in the solid form.I have found that if I abstain from foods with refined sugars, my cravings go away.
This is kind of sad - but I will confess anyway - once the cravings subside for several weeks, I start to miss them.

I have been using food, especially sugar laden food to stuff my feelings all my life and when the craving for sugar leaves - it is like losing a "friend"...HA! Some friend....one who make me miserable and fat and depressed about being fat.

Sometimes we have to let go of people that have come into our lives when we realize their being there is counter productive to who and what we want to be.
It is the same with food - we have to let go of the ones that brings us down and cause us to defeat our goals.

Best of luck with giving up drinking Coke. I know you can do it!!!

Your determination to change your body and improve your health has brought you so very far. I believe you are a strong person and once you -deep inside yourself - make a decision for change - you will find a way to make it happen.

Congrats on your amazing progress!

I am very pleased I found your blog - I read it daily as a source of encouragement for my own journey.

Thank you for posting candid picturesand being so very honest about your struggles. You look amazing and it is very encouraging to see the progress you have made.

"Falling down is not failure - staying down is" -


JennP said...

love your topic, recently found your blog. I am going through the same issues. Actually just yesterday, i wondered "wouldn't it be nice to have a chance to just start back at zero and just do it right this time?"
It seems it would be so much easier to just erase all the extra weight and start off on a clean slate.
I read a LOT about nutrition and health, and I must say that the main ideas I go for are the plant based ways of eating. (i.e Dr. Fuhrman, Brendan Brazier the triathlete) ... I am not 100% there yet, but those are the ways of eating that I cherish and aim for. Not for weight per se (the weight would naturally come off) but mainly for the idea that it reduces the cancer risk. Seems I fear that more than weight!

Betsey C. said...

I just can't tell you how much strength I get from your blog. You are brutally honest, and when you express your hope, you give me hope. We are blessed to live in the age of the Internet, aren't we? We are friends who haven't met. Thank you.

ptg said...

On a complete side note (that should have been posted a while ago) - I too am addicted to Coke. Something about it just makes me squeeee with excitement.

Of course, the pounds I gain while drinking it is a whole other story.

Every journey begins with a single step...and congrats on restarting.

I am in the same category now...restarting over again. WE CAN DO IT!

Blossom said...

Being a food addict is, in some ways (I think), more difficult than being an alcoholic. Because you need food to live; it's not as if you can just stop eating. If you find the secret for keeping control of your cravings, let me know!!

Homestead in the City said...

Hi, I hope you read through your comments... I started reading your blog the other day and am now hooked LOL Anyhow, I have PCOS and need to lose about 140 lbs. I don't know if you have been tested for that but it is worth a try. If you are then you have your ovaries and pancreas making insulin. Keep up all of your good work and efforts. Trying to try is great!! Much Love to you!

Katie Jo said...

It isn't a linear journey--not for me at least. The fact that you are still moving forward despite your setbacks is wonderful. You go girl!

Anonymous said...

I'm an alcoholic who has been sober in AA for 8.5 years and I'm working on my overeating (which started before the alcohol abuse).

It's true that sugar can help the cravings for alcohol in the initial stages of recovery. But, there are a lot of other tools too.

One of the first tools we learn is the Serenity Prayer - God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the courage to know the difference.

Another tool is HALT - don't get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired (because you are more likely to drink then). I think that as long as Hungry is taken care of with good food :), this works for over eating as well.

Another tool is "a day at a time" -- don't focus on doing this forever, focus on just doing it today. Sometimes you have to focus on staying sober for an hour or a minute, but the important thing is to not drink (overeat) now.

The last tool I would recommend is "take what you like and leave the rest". In other words, focus on what you hear that speaks to you, not on what you disagree with. This way you can get something out of every meeting.

AA has "open" meetings where anyone can go and listen. You do not have to be an alcoholic. You don't have to say anything if you don't want to. (Closed meetings are for those who identify themselves as "someone with a desire to stop drinking [alcohol]").

I love your blog and hope that I can give a little back with this post.

Lyn said...

Thank you all for the great comments on this post! Lots of great information and insights here. Very helpful. Sometimes I just print out the comments section as a reference for myself, and this is one of them :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy to see you are in a better place this week and feeling in control again. I can totally relate to your blog and your ups and downs. I agree with the losing the same pounds again is part of the journey for some people. I am definitly one of them. Like you I have to keep doing it because I don't want to live obese forever. Keep up the great work...I'm right behind you =)

Anonymous said...

Lyn do you try and eat every 2 hours? I think that eating every 2 hours would stabilize your blood sugar and maybe you wouldn't have as many cravings. I read somewhere that its proven that the scent of something sweet, like vanilla, or even smelling something like an orange, can help fight your cravings for sugar. I have tried it and it works! Try it yourself.